O'Donnells 'drained and battered' but fight goes on
SOLICITOR Brian O'Donnell was expected to leave his Killiney mansion to attend court today as they launched a fresh challenge to keep their home.
The former high-profile legal eagle and property developer Mr O'Donnell and his wife Mary Patricia have remained barricaded into their home on Gorse Hill in recent days as the case unfolded in the courts.
The New Land League group, which temporarily lifted its blockade of the entrance to the home yesterday, last night said Brian O'Donnell would leave the home the couple were "legally entitled" to remain in to attend the High Court sitting.
They said the O'Donnells remained defiant and now intend to bring their case to Europe - should their latest challenge fail.
Blake O'Donnell, the couple's eldest son, has already said they would be appealing after an injunction by the family, who owe debts of €71m to Bank of Ireland, to prevent the bank seizing the house was rejected by the court.
The court then proceeded to issue a vacant possession order for the bank's receiver to take over the home.
Trespass proceedings have been lodged against Mr and Mrs O'Donnell and representatives of the receiver posted court documents on the gates of the home as part of an order against the O'Donnells' continued occupancy of the €7m home.
The Land League told reporters that the family yesterday had lodged an affidavit to the court requesting that the judge hearing the case 'recuse' himself from the case.
The group also said they have lodged a constitutional challenge aimed at preventing the repossession of homes around the country. This is being taken by Mr Darcy and is against the Land and Conveyancing Act.
The group said this would prevent banks from repossessing homes. In addition, the group says it is also now preparing a legal challenge in Europe after obtaining legal opinions from law experts from the UK and Germany.
Tom Darcy from the anti-repossession movement said the country was facing "a national emergency" in terms of home repossessions, with thousands of people facing losing their home.
He also called on the Government to halt the repossession of homes.
Asked why the Land League had involved itself in this case, the group's spokesman Jerry Beades said the reason for the group's "digging in at Gorse Hill" was because it had put "at centre stage" the issue of home repossessions in Ireland.
He also condemned the actions of journalist Vincent Browne for entering the O'Donnells' property yesterday. However, he later appeared on the broadcaster's show on TV3 where he described the home, once valued at €30m and equipped with a swimming pool and tennis court, as "bog standard".
He said members of the Land League remained outside the home last night and would do so until the conclusion of the case.
However, the group admitted the ongoing legal wrangling was taking a heavy toll on the family, who were described as "petrified" at the thought of losing their home.
"They're pretty battered by the whole process," said Mr Beades, who was joined by Mr Darcy, another member of the league. "They're no different than any hundreds of other families around the country facing the same situation.
"Physically, to look at them, they're drained," he added.
He also said some of the comments of senior judges were "out of order" and had added to the distress of the family.
"If you ask what the O'Donnells feel like, I would say petrified, terrified," Mr Darcy said, adding the family feel they have been failed by the Government, judiciary and banking system.